A few Saturdays ago, I attended the Obon Festival in San Diego, held at the Japanese Buddhist temple. The Obon Festival is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed ancestors. The festivals are filled with performances and food.

I was alerted to various festivals happening in Southern California from The Food Librarian when she linked to a schedule of Obon festivals (see the end of her post). Once I saw San Diego was on there, I immediately marked my calendar. I’d never attended one, but I was curious to see what it was like and to eat some delicious Japanese treats.

The festival began at 5pm. Once we arrived, we saw a crowd of people observing a drum performance in the courtyard. Both the downstairs and upstairs were crowded with people.

All around, there was different food being served. The money raised was being donated towards Japan’s earthquake relief.

Some of the most popular items appeared to be the bento boxes. By the time we got there, most of them were sold out. We then headed over to the grilling, where we saw okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake), meat skewers and taiyaki (fish shaped sweet pancakes with filling).

Lychee chiffon cake

I mentioned earlier that I love lychees. I’ve never really done anything other than eat them and so this weekend I thought I’d try my hand at baking with them.

My first thought was a lychee chiffon cake. I’ve bookmarked several different chiffon cake recipes and for this cake, I tried one of these recipes.

Recently, a new Whole Foods opened up in Encinitas. I was invited to attend the grand opening which also coincided with the Encinitas Block Party.

I was out of town that weekend, but FH agreed to attend on my behalf. I wasn’t quite trusting enough to lend him my camera (we often joke how shaky his hands are), so he brought along his own point and shoot camera.

Once there, he was given a private tour of the new store. When he came back, he had a wealth of information. Here are some of the highlights he gleaned from the tour: